House Democrats have long been working to expand rural broadband access

(Apr. 29) – The House approved Rep. Dylan Roberts’ bill to expand the broadband infrastructure in Colorado, especially in rural areas. In parts of rural Colorado, broadband services are inadequate and in some instances nonexistent.

“Access to the internet is an indispensable part of our lives and it’s important we create equity between the rural and urban areas,” said Rep. Roberts, D-Avon. “Improving broadband infrastructure will help close the digital divide in communities from the Eastern Plains to the Western Slope. We can save millions of dollars on new infrastructure if we allow electrical easement holders to deliver internet services to communities through already-existing transmission corridors. That’s what this bill allows.”

Rep. Roberts is the Chair of the Rural Affairs and Agriculture committee and the Capital Development committee.

This bill allows electrical easement holders to lease existing fiber resources on these easements for the purpose of delivering broadband internet services to communities. It will allow the utilization of dark fiber by providers to connect areas without having to spend money on costly new infrastructure or easement negotiation.

Similar legislation has been passed in Indiana, Missouri and Tennessee.

SB19-107 passed the Senate on a 35-0 vote and passed the House today with a bipartisan vote of 62-2. It now heads back to the Senate for approval of amendments.

The Senate co-prime sponsor is Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail.

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